Robert Schaberl - Beneath the Surface
February 23, 2012 – April 14, 2012
Opening reception in the presence of the artist: Thursday, February 23, 2012 from 6-8 pm
Galerie Kashya Hildebrand is pleased to present new works from Austrian artist Robert Schaberl in his third solo exhibition with the gallery. Over the past few years, Schaberl has developed a series of paintings entitled Zentralformen (central forms). These seemingly monochromatic images directly address the nature of painting as a material practice. Rather than using this medium to create illusory space, Schaberl has opted to investigate the relationship that develops through the interaction of paint, light and the viewer. The rigorously condensed format of these works opens a surprisingly rich realm of visual experience. They do not refer to or represent objects in the world; rather, they foreground the limitations and opportunities of the two-dimensional canvas, creating a meditative color space in which the two-dimensional surface opens to infinity.
At first glance, the works seem monochromatic, but, in fact, Schaberl applies 50-70 razor-thin layers of multi-colored pigments to each painting. The use of specialized Iriodine pigments endow the paintings with an elusive depth and mesmerizing quality: the colors keep changing depending on the observer’s point of view. Schaberl focuses attention on the hue and the tonality of color whose modulations are given value through the agency of light. He continuously probes the layering and transparency of the applied colors and explores to what extent light and changing points of view will alter the intensity of the colors and our perception of them. As the artist explains, “The colors I want to achieve are always undefinable, never just blue or red or yellow or green, but always unseizeable.” The color and spatial effect changes in the viewer’s sensory experience of the images, then, reveal the interactivity of the works. The playful nuances of color and light dance just outside the observer’s grasp. Freed from the limits of categorization, the experience of colour is constantly fresh and compelling: “This is what attracts me and makes me go on exploring this color universe.”
Robert was born in 1961 in Feldbach, Austria. He studied from 1979-85 at the University Mozarteum in Salzburg, lived in the United States from 1985-86 and lived in Berlin from 1997-2000. Since then he has lived and worked in Vienna. His paintings have been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums, most notably in Austria, Germany, France, the USA and Costa Rica. His work is also represented in several major collections: the Museum Neue Galerie, Graz; the collection of the City of Vienna; the Museum Liaunig Kärnten, the collection of the State of Austria; the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education and the Arts; and the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles.